Comparing Immigrant Assimilation in Canada and the United States

The Wall Street Journal was out with a piece over the weekend titled Immigrants Are Still Fitting In.  It is a summary of a recent study by the Manhattan Institute which compared immigration assimilation in North America and Europe.

The WSJ produced the following chart which summarizes the study’s findings:

As the chart shows, the study found that Canada ranks highest amongst Western democracies in terms of assimilation.

The study cited the following possible reasons for why Canada might rank ahead of the United States in this regard:

Two facets of Canadian immigration policy may help explain the rapid integration of foreigners into Canadian society. First, the path to citizenship in Canada is short and easily traveled. Foreigners face a three-year residency requirement (it is five for legal permanent residents in the United States and as many as twelve in some European countries), and the nation has taken a liberal stance toward dual citizenship since 1977. Second, Canadian immigration policy places a distinct emphasis on attracting skilled migrants. Thirty percent of foreign-born adults in Canada have college degrees, while the rate is 23 percent in the United States and 10 percent in Spain and Italy. Educational attainment is not a factor in the international version of the assimilation index, but the link between immigrants’ level of education and their degree of assimilation is strong.

I remember being taught in secondary school that “Canada is about multiculturalism, the United States is about assimilation.”  In the wake of increasing evidence to the contrary as shown in this study, I wonder if the notion that Canada is not about assimilation is still being taught.


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